I'm trying to track down a fantasy book that I read as a teenager (early 00s) and never really finished.
What I can remember is that the main character belonged to the aristocratic or upper class of society. Skin whiteness was very important as the book made a big deal of him putting a protective cream on his skin whenever he went outside to keep it white. There was definitely some seafaring involved when he went to live in a new place. I think he was also in a relationship with another man.
It was definitely not set on earth. Although there was no mention of the characters being "human" as the description of them was very much human-like. I don't remember magic/monsters or other different humanoid species (elves/dwarves/halflings) being a significant part of it, although that's not to say that there was and I've just forgotten.
The society resembled early modern europe in terms of technology, there was nothing particular industrialised but it seemed more modern than the middle ages.
Appreciate it's a bit of a rough description, does anyone know what this is?